Monday, October 09, 2006

Spam as a writing prompt

E-mail spam is getting harder and harder to ignore. Not because my filters aren't doing a good job, but because the spammers are getting so doggone creative. A while back they learned that randomly-generated sentences and paragraphs could look important enough to fool our filters and slide into our inboxes. Lately the "compositions" have been getting better, and I've been reading them when I need a chuckle. Here's a good one:

When you see the sheriff, it means that an abstraction of a cowboy leaves. If the customer beyond a chess board sells some minivan about the traffic light to some greasy blood clot, then a knowingly treacherous salad dressing panics.

Sounds like something from a beat generation poet, don't you think?

A graduated cylinder related to a stovepipe throws a thoroughly impromptu bullfrog at a steam engine, or an infected apartment building finds subtle faults with a crispy traffic light.

If you're a fiction writer and are unable to harvest at least three story ideas from those excerpts, you're just not trying very hard. But even if you're not in the mood to write an entire novel, you could have some fun with this: just string together two or three of these sentences, apply a little judicious editing, and you'll have an excellent entry for the next Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Come to think of it, a couple of last year's winners did look familiar....

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Chris said...

treble ofechoes sounds notbeing bodythat maketh Nothing itself: notsound. motionbut nerves

sametime thesenate dictator generals Soalso menchosen imposeth werethe thegreat Venice captains governors oftowns


Neal said...

"When you see the sheriff, it means that an abstraction of a cowboy leaves."

You know, I can see real meaning in that. Fabulous.

I had one this morning with the subject line "Ms. Idealism". And yesterday I had "dismount improbable". Both made me chuckle.

Neal said...

Hey, they got sign-in working for blogger beta! :-)

Sir John said...

I agree, and with all of the stuff I get with the nick name of Sir John, it make trying to explan it to my new wife very interesting. I am luck in one thing, she is a computer programer and understands.

Brenda Coulter said...

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Sir John, congratulations on your recent marriage.